What is the purpose of a résumé?

The purpose of a résumé is to entice the reader (employer) to invite you for an interview.

It is your marketing tool, selling a very important product – YOU!

What should be included in a résumé?

Résumés can be composed in many different ways, but they should all follow some basic rules:

  • Information must be accurate and concise.
  • Information must be easy to read.
  • Action verbs and descriptions of accomplishments work best.
  • One page is desirable.

How should a résumé be organized?

Some headings are universal for all résumés; others might only apply to you.  See samples for some different options.

Always include:

  • Caption:  Your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
  • Objective: A brief statement of the type of position you are seeking.
  • Education:
    • College degrees, beginning with the most recent.
    • Include GPA if 3.0 or better.
    • Significant non-degree education such as certificates.
  • Experience:  Most recent job first; identify accomplishments and transferable skills at each place of employment; try to show solid work history.

Optional Headings:

Include this information if it is applicable to the job you are seeking and you have space.

  • Summary of Qualifications
  • Volunteer experience.
  • Professional memberships.
  • Special skills and foreign languages.
  • Technical skills.
    • These could include computer skills as well as proficiency in the “tools of the trade” that are relevant to your objective.
  • Honors and awards.

What about summary statements?

A summary statement can be added near the top of the résumé to highlight three or four of your personal attributes.  Such as:

  • Three years progressive payroll responsibility.
  • Proven ability to multi-task and work with others.
  • Worked full-time while maintaining 3.2 GPA in college.

This information may also be included in your cover letter.

Generally, do not use a summary on a Web résumé.

What is the difference between chronological and functional résumés?

Chronological résumés show growth and development in your work experience or education.  These are good to use if your job objective is similar to your previous jobs.

Functional résumés focus on skills across industries and are good to use if your employment history is scattered or the job you are interested in is not related to your past experience.